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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Heroic individual efforts touch the right chord


Friday, 12 September 2014 | Ashwani Lohani | in Oped
Individual initiatives, although seemingly minor, can bring about major changes in our beliefs
My recent visits to two establishments in Rewari, the first Heritage Transport Museum of the nation and another first the ‘Neverenough’ miniature trains park, opened my eyes wide and bright. That both these establishments have been the culmination of the efforts of singular individuals who invested their own time and money in realising their dreams of passion, gives happiness as well as hope that not everything is lost yet.
The heritage transport museum had always been a dream of the nation’s curators and heritage lovers. Unfortunately, despite sporadic efforts that died almost instantaneously, the dream continued to remain a dream till Mr Tarun Thakral, a passionate lover of antique cars and railway trains, stepped in. The museum that covers a wide cross-section of road transport and a good genuine sprinkling of rail heritage with some aviation and marine heritage also on display is a place to visit for an indian in love with his country and a foreigner wanting to visit a destination that is unique, interesting and provides a great experience.
The miniature rail park created by Adesh is also an amazing novelty so far confined only to developed nations. A place of joy for kids and adults alike, this park will also in time emerge as a tourist attraction of international levels. Besides its touristic value, such parks would also give a fillip to rail modelling industry in the country that is presently in its infancy.
These visits were unique as they reinforced in me the belief that there are still some good men (and women too) who care for their country and would go to any extent to live their dreams, dreams that are great in themselves and also contribute in making this country great. That it is still possible to achieve so much despite the constraining environment is a thought that loomed on me for a long period after these visits.
Almost two decades back, when I was appointed the Director of the National Rail Museum, I toyed with the subject of creating the nation’s first transport museum. In the backdrop of a dilapidated museum crying for attention, I perhaps rightly did not pursue the idea further and, in lieu, concentrated on a variety of improvements and other measures that helped in the proper positioning of the museum as the proud repository of the nation’s rail heritage. Transport museum at that time did not appear as a concept whose time had come. 
And so when I walked into Mr Thakral’s creation recently, I was pleasantly surprised but also satisfied that this national dream has finally been redeemed. Through this creation, Mr Thakral has given to the society many times over what the society would have given him in his entire life. He has put his entire life’s savings and almost two decades of energy and effort in realising his dream of giving the nation its first-ever transport museum, and in the process, proved that there are many for whom the word impossible simply does not exist. It is indeed men like Mr Thakral of the transport museum and and Adesh of the miniature rail park who really deserve recognition and also the highest accolades that this nation has to offer.
The achievements of Mr Thakral and Adesh reinforce in me the belief that it is indeed individuals fired with inner zeal, conviction and commitment who are our real national assets.
The nation on its part simply needs to harness, encourage and reward such individuals, if only with the selfish motive of inspiring many others to join this coveted league and propel the nation further on the road to progress.

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